After interviewing women entrepreneurs for the past four years, one fact stands out: Successful ones don’t do it alone.  Support comes in many shapes and sizes and from many different sources. I was reminded of this when I reconnected with Diana Lovett of Cissé Trading Co. who takes advantage of several different kinds support. We originally spoke about raising money when you’re pregnant or a new mother.

Cissé produces cocoa baking mixes, hot cocoa and ready-to-eat treats. Lovett has grown the company from a small regional player that sold in speciality markets to a national company selling in traditional supermarkets. She’s expanded her product line from foods you make to include foods that are ready to eat. All products are absolutely scrumptious.

Lovett built her company using a wide range of support systems.

1. Do it formally and/or informally
You may want to get your MBA. However, not to worry if you don’t have one. Most of the women I’ve interviewed, including Lovett, don’t have one. In the end, when each woman needed knowledge she didn’t have, she turned to her stable of advisors, which included professionals, such as accountants and lawyers,and family members, peer advisory groups (a.k.a. CEO roundtables or Mastermind), board members and mentors and sponsors.

Peer groups have a trained facilitator who guides entrepreneurs through a process of solving problems by discussing the problem with people who have been there and done that. Lovett’s peer group is a small group of mom bosses in the food industry. The group is self-managed.

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